Thursday, 04 October 2018 15:50

Tried & Tested Baxter of California

Review Baxter of California men's grooming expertTheChicGeek says, “You’ve probably seen this brand before. This is L’Oréal relaunching the men’s grooming brand, Baxter of California, back into Europe. Established in 1965, it is one of the oldest men’s grooming brands and was acquired by the huge beauty conglomerate, L’Oréal, in 2012. (They’ve been hoovering up a lot of brands over the last few years).

The thing I remember most about Baxter of California was the metal tubes. It gave them a retro and quality feel. These are now gone, though the packaging looks similar and I still like it. I don’t actually remember the products themselves.

Left - Some of the vast Baxter of California range

It’s a big range, but feels reliable. I tried the Oil Free Moisturiser, which I really liked and they also do an SPF option which is great. The Citrus & Herbal-Musk Deodorant, is an alcohol and Aluminum-free stick sensitive skin. I also tried a not very memorable body wash, and, the deep cleansing, black bar of soap. These could both do with a stronger and more longer lasting quality fragrance especially at these prices. Men expect and desire this, now, especially when paying a premium.

Review Baxter of California men's grooming expert

The pricing is relatively high, with similar prices to that other L’Oréal brand, Kiehl’s. 

It’s simple and easy to understand, which is good, but I’d like to see more of its background and history in its products. Where’s my California sun? Which ones are new? Which ones are your heroes? This brand would be perfect to tap the outdoor/active feel that grooming should be heading in.

If I was going to pinpoint one standout product, then it's the Oil Free Moisturiser. 

I’d rather buy this than L’Oréal’s new men’s brand, House 99. Read why here

Right - Everybody loves sunshine - Baxter of California needs to push more of its heritage. Or make some up?!

Published in Grooming
Tuesday, 07 August 2018 15:30

Tried & Tested Azzaro Wanted By Night

Azzaro men's fragrance Wanted By Night tried tested review

Azzaro’s Wanted By Night is a woody-oriental-spicy eau de parfum created by Quentin Bisch and Michel Girard and is a new twist on the original 'Wanted' released a couple of years ago. 

A woody base note is brought on by white cedar. The juiciness of a sparkling mandarin, zested with a hint of its nectar, is mixed with warm, spicy cinnamon notes and the woody tonalities of cedarwood. 

Left - Wanted's controversial bottle. Maybe it's a big seller in the US?! Azzaro Wanted By Night - 50ml - EDP - £46

Azzaro men's fragrance Wanted By Night tried tested reviewRed cedarwood’s explosive charisma and the flamboyance of cumin, creates a heart crafted in precious woods with a warm, nectary tobacco blend is reinforced with Atlas cedarwood.

TheChicGeek says, “When you get to my age it should be more Wanted By Teatime! This has a sticky, synthetic smell, which I like. Nothing smells natural about this which I find more interesting.

The cinnamon gives it a youthful and warming edge. There aren’t any layers here. It is, what it is, then disappears relatively quickly, especially for an eau de parfum.

The bottle, which is the shape of a fully-loaded gun chamber, got quite a lot of flack when it first appeared two years ago, but it does look slightly better here with darker juice. The advert, on the other hand, looks like a 16 year old’s version of sophisticated. Don’t get me started about that eyebrow…”

Right - Who signs this stuff off? *raises eyebrow*

Published in Grooming
Tuesday, 17 April 2018 22:24

Review Antonio Lopez Sex, Fashion & Disco

Antonio Lopez Fashion Sex Disco documentary

What they’ve done with, I’m guessing, limited visual material is remarkable. Even a featured Andy Warhol art film/doc is of such bad quality it looks like the first season of Rupaul’s Drag Race. So they’ve done well to find enough contemporary film footage or pictures to fill this and keep your attention. Obviously, there are new interviews with people who were there at the time, but it’s sad and disappointing that the two main characters are no longer with us.

Left - Antonio & Jerry

I’d heard of Antonio Lopez before and was aware of his style of drawing. I knew the era he was producing in, but that was about all. I didn’t really know who he worked with and for whom.

James Crump’s documentary centres on Paris and New York between 1969 and 1973, viewed through the eyes of Antonio Lopez (1943-1987). A native of Puerto Rico and raised in The Bronx, the story centres on him and his personal and creative partner, Juan Ramos (1942-1995).

Antonio Lopez Fashion Sex Disco documentary

Being an illustrator Lopez would never have been in the public eye personally, unlike many of the designers he was copying. His illustrations were well known, but it felt like he was always at the mercy of the commission, whether that was for a magazine or fashion house.

Right - Lopez's partner, Juan Ramos

Unlike Warhol, who also started as an illustrator, Lopez didn’t push himself centre stage. Warhol knew there was money to be made in people’s narcissism and vanity. Lopez seems to stick to the safety of what he knows. Maybe there wasn't enough time, well, between all the shagging, at least!

I like how the documentary moves between New York and Paris, but I wanted more from the main disco time of the late 70s and early 80s. The disco is Paris’ Club Sept, but you don't really get a feel for the place. 

It gets wrapped up quickly at the end without the same level of detail. What was he working on? Did he fall out of fashion?

There is a brief moment when you feel like you’re watching a documentary about YSL and Karl Lagerfeld. (Love the beef between these two). These giant fashion planets pulled many different stars into their orbit and Lopez and his entourage of models and lovers were just some of them.

It was fun to see and hear from the group of female models Lopez championed - there's one who reminds me of Angie Bowie - and would have looked mega diverse even by today’s standards. The documentary is worth watching just for Jerry Hall’s arrival. Man, was that one beautiful woman. There are models and, then, there are supermodels. She’s like Botticelli’s Venus combine with a classical Greek siren with a dash of Texan Barbie. She’s captivating, especially in this where she's just starting out on her modelling career. This is where the film starts to end. It’s a shame, along with Grace Jones and Karl Lagerfeld, that she isn't interviewed for the film.

Antonio Lopez Fashion Sex Disco documentary

Lagerfeld seemed to distance himself at the end of Lopez’s career which is probably why he’s lasted so long in the fashion business. I imagine you have to be pretty cold and heartless in order to maintain your position. In the film he uses Lopez to illustrate his work at Chloe, and, being good at what he does, he knew they were the zeitgeist of the time and then when to drop them, accordingly. 

Upsetting the photographer, Bill Cunningham, who is a prominent interviewee in the film, Lagerfeld wasn’t there when Lopez was diagnosed with AIDS.

The film is definitely an extensive insight into Lopez's fashion circles of the late 60s, 70s and early 80s: who knew who, who fucked who and who made it through. There are, annoyingly, not enough recorded visuals of his process and you want to hear more from the man himself. You don’t get a feeling of how much he produced and how his magazine illustrations complemented the fashion of the time. The artworks look like a mix between 70s Art Nouveau and porn illustrations, but you can see his precocious talent.

The film, again, illustrates how much talent we lost during the AIDS crisis and also fulfils our insatiable thirst for retro glamour. We live in age where we are obsessed with looking backwards at talented and beautiful people, quenching our need for what we feel today's modern landscape is sadly lacking.

Left - One of Lopez's illustrations

See #ChicGeekComment Is ‘Peak Fashion Documentary’ Killing The Fashion Tome?

Published in Fashion

Ordo toothcare toothbrush subscription review tried tested

Ordo says they want to revolutionise the dental hygiene market with their online subscription service and streamlined electric toothbrush ‘Starter Pack’, containing the Ordo aluminium electric toothbrush, travel cap, 80ml whitening & sensitive toothpaste (2-month supply), 25ml travel toothpaste (2-week supply), portable silicon stand and AAA battery, which all fits conveniently through your letterbox.  

The Ordo toothbrush has an aluminium anodised handle and uses sonic pulse technology with one-speed setting allowing brushing at the optimal speed with 25,000 pulses per minute; while a two-minute timer signals every thirty seconds as a reminder to cover all four quadrants of your mouth for the best brushing technique as advised by dental experts. 

Left & Below Right - Ordo - Starter Pack - Available in three different colour ways – Silver, Rose Gold and Charcoal Grey - £30

Ordo toothcare toothbrush subscription review tried testedBeing battery-operated means there are no messy cables or charging ports. It’s travel friendly: at the gym, work or travelling remotely. 

New heads will be delivered straight to your door every two months as part of their subscription plan alongside new batteries.

The 'Refill Pack’ delivered every 2 months for £10 includes an Ordo brush head, travel cap, AAA battery, 80ml whitening & sensitive toothpaste and 25ml whitening & sensitive travel toothpaste. You can cancel or modify your plan anytime. 

TheChicGeek says, “Firstly, this is a really good idea: a subscription toothcare service sending brush heads, batteries and toothpaste. I’m surprised somebody, especially one of the big boys, hasn’t thought of this before. We never change our brush heads enough and buying the branded ones are really expensive. This makes it easy and the prices are pretty good.

I’m glad it’s using sonic pulse cleaning as this is my preferred type of toothbrush. The others always seem a bit digger truck to me.

The positives: great idea, good design, neat, small and travel friendly. Negative, and it’s a big one, it’s not a very satisfying clean. It’s too weak and therefore the brush is too soft. I tried it for 3 days, but it just wasn’t as good as my Philips Sonicare and I was pining after it.  

Ordo has got everything else going for it, I particularly like the Millennial pink stand, it just needs more strength.”

Published in Grooming

CliniqueFit Workout Face + Body Hydrating Spray review tried tested gym

‘CliniqueFit’ is a ‘carefully curated line of athletic-inspired, high performance skin care that’s long-wearing and designed to fit seamlessly into your on-the-go lifestyle’.

TheChicGeek says, “Gym bunnies are active consumers, so, not only is this timely, but commercially focussed. This is a brand thinking about where their consumers live their lives, today, and how they want to look during and after working out.

The majority of products in the range are make-up so I was only sent the 'Workout Face + Body Hydrating Spray' to try. There are seven products in the full range. I put it in my gym coat pocket and used it after every class.

It is a water-based, non-stick and oil-free formula spray designed to instantly refresh and hydrate parched skin. It’s said to absorb quickly and leave skin feeling soft and comfortable with a healthy glow. 

It’s definitely light and absorbs quickly, but I didn’t notice any after glow and it’s not a refreshing as you want it to be. This is probably one of the rare times I want something fragrant and uplifting, and not fragrance-free from Clinique. I’m thinking something cleansing, spa or Aveda like, which works well in these wet sprays, making you want to use them more while putting a post-workout spring into your step.”

Left - CliniqueFit Workout Face + Body Hydrating Spray - 30ml - £13

Available exclusively to Selfridges, Brown Thomas Dublin and Clinique.co.uk.

Published in Grooming

Bulldog Skincare For Men Sensitive Face Wash review tried tested

Bulldog Skincare For Men has added a fragrance-free and gentle face scrub to their ‘Sensitive’ range. The new, skin-smoothing scrub contains sustainably sourced quinoa husk - a by-product of the food industry - sweet almond, baobab and oat oil, and willow herb. It helps to improve skin texture by removing dead skin and leaving a fresh complexion.  

Left - Bulldog Skincare For Men - Sensitive Face Scrub - £5

Baobab oil has a high emollient power and is known for its skin smoothing and moisturising properties. Oat oil, grown and harvested in the UK, is known for its effective skin emollience and natural skin softening properties. Canadian willow herb, a unique plant from the Northern Canadian prairies, has developed strong multi-functional phytochemical properties to survive the harsh climate.

TheChicGeek says, “This looks and smells good enough to squirt on your breakfast cereal. The recommended usage is once to twice a week or pre-shave, but I’d say you can use as often as you like. 

It’s soft and gentle and being ‘sensitive’, it’s less likely to irritate even the most sensitive of skin. You can feel the ‘beads’, but it’s not coarse at all. If you like your face scrubs like sandpaper then this probably isn't for you.

I also like the fact Bulldog’s new packaging is now made from sugarcane."

Published in Grooming
Thursday, 08 February 2018 12:05

Tried & Tested QMS EpiGen Daily-Detox Serum

QMS serum grooming beauty review tried tested

Inspired by Epigenetic - (Dictionary definition) relating to or arising from non-genetic influences on gene expression -  science, QMS’ EpiGen Daily-Detox Serum has been specifically designed to address the damage increasing levels of pollution is having on our skin.

Central to its formula is the innovative Epigenetic-Peptide which mimics the function of Royalactin (royal jelly protein), this has a positive effect on the regeneration of the epidermis and in combination with the other advanced-performance ingredients delivers targeted action against the impact of pollution on the skin. Key ingredients include PCW-Skin Relaxing Extract from the Swiss stone pine which reduces local redness and age spots, resulting in a more even skin appearance, Matrikine Complex, a special messenger peptide (matrikines) playing a role in skin repair processes and GCI-Peptide which maintains genomic integrity by protecting and repairing DNA damage.

Left - !QMS - EpiGen Daily-Detox Serum - 30ml - £167 (30ml)

TheChicGeek says, i “I hadn’t heard of QMS before, so this was the first product I’ve tried. I was fortunate to meet the brains behind the brand, Dr. Erich Schulte. A plastic surgeon from Germany, he founded QMS to get his patients’ skin into tip-top shape before they went under the knife. Ouch.

He says one of the biggest stressors of skin, after UV damage, is pollution and with London’s current problem, this is easy to believe. The rising levels of microscopic pollutant particles in the air can lead to skin irritations, increased sensitivity, hyper-pigmentation, premature skin ageing, clogged pores and acne. These particles are so small they can penetrate right down to the epidermis and this is where the damage starts.

Schulte says, “The highly innovative active ingredient complex in EpiGen Daily-Detox Serum helps to deactivate the negative chemical markings that are having a detrimental impact on the skin whilst accelerating epidermal regeneration, activating the cellular cleaning process and delaying skin aging.” 

This goes on once a day, in the morning, under your moisturiser. It’s probably one of the most expensive products I’ve tried - £167 for 30ml!!

It’s good, but it’s hard not to be shy with it when you think about how expensive it is. Though, as it’s once-a-day, it should last a reasonable amount of time.

QMS stands for 'quick magic skin', and Dr. Schulte says the exclamation mark, before !QMS, was inspired by German designer, Wolfgang Joop - JOOP!. He thought it would intrigued people to know more about his nascent skincare brand. 

These Doctor brands just keep getting bigger and bigger, as people want to pay for the science rather than the packaging, brand and marketing campaign. This is definitely one to keep an eye on.”

Published in Grooming
Wednesday, 07 February 2018 16:13

Tried & Tested Montblanc Legend Night

Mont Blanc Legend Night Review

Created by Antoine Maisondieu and Olivier Pescheux, who set out to reveal “the charisma of the wearer”, Montblanc Legend Night is a woody fragrance with aromatic notes of clary sage and peppermint, enhanced with cool spices (cardamom) and sparkling bergamot.

The middle notes contain cedar wood blended with floral lavender tones, and slightly powdered violet.

"In the base notes, we wanted a strong and memorable signature, full of contrasts,” explain the two noses. “On one side some dense and vibrant woods with a duo of Vetiver and patchouli wood, and on the other, the enveloping depth of musk and velvety black vanilla.”

Left - Montblanc Legend Night 100ml - EDP - £67

TheChicGeek says, “The first Legend arrived in 2011, and has proved to be a commercial success. This is the third in the series after Legend Spirit. 

It starts off fairly standardly and unmemorable, but then warms into a soft, vanilla wood with a background of violet. There’s nothing especially distinctive here and it doesn’t feel particularly ‘night’. Maybe not heavy enough?

I think Mont Blanc as a brand could go for a more upmarket feel and better quality ingredients with their fragrances. There’s a disconnect between a £500 pen and a £67 fragrance available from The Perfume Shop and, I think, as consumers become more used to nicher, quality fragrances, the people running these brands should take note and aim to copy or emulate the finish and feeling or get left behind. I do like the ombré bottle, it has that 80s ‘Fahrenheit’ feel, but I’d probably stick to the original Legend."

Montblanc Legend Night will be available exclusively at The Perfume Shop from 12th March 2018. Nationwide from 3rd April 2018.

Published in Grooming
Wednesday, 07 February 2018 13:22

Tried & Tested John Frieda JF Man

John Frieda JF Man Haircare Review

JF Man has been created by the experts behind one the biggest and instantly recognisable hair brands, John Frieda. Drawing on three decades of experience in transforming hair, JF Man is a dedicated men’s collection - their first - of care and styling products that work together to tackle some of modern men’s most challenging hair concerns. 

“Our research revealed a clear demand for dedicated men’s hair care and styling products, with Mintel forecasting +11% growth in the Men’s haircare category through to 2020. The result is two ground-breaking collections that are designed to combat the frustrating natural tendencies hair has as it grows, helping men manage their hair between barber visits, getting them closer to that fresh-cut feeling, every day,” says Karolina Tlalka, Marketing Manager, JF Man. 

Left - Lift System Energising Shampoo - £7.50, Lift System Lifting Clay Crème - £9.50, Lift System Humidity Blocking Hairspray - £7.50, Control System Taming Shampoo - £7.50, Control System Calming Conditioner - £7.50, Control System Grooming Gel - £9.50, Control System Sculpting Paste - £9.50, Control System Smoothing Crème - £9.50 

TheChicGeek says, “This range is split into two: LIFT for thin, flat hair that needs lift and support; and CONTROL for unruly, dry or thick hair. I’m firmly in the ‘LIFT’ category - the blue accented products - and I already like the way there isn’t a conditioner option. It makes me feel like they know what they’re doing, instead of that annoying thing of a ‘shampoo/conditioner’, because men are ‘lazy’, when, if you have fine hair, you don’t want a conditioner making it lank and greasy.

Within the LIFT option there is a shampoo, clay crème and hairspray. It all feels really light, which is what you want with thin and flat hair. The shampoo has a great texture and contains Keratin Protein and Vitamin B5. The ‘Humidity Blocking Hairspray’ is a non-sticky spray that is truly non sticky and has hold without it feeling too rigid. The ‘Lifting Clay Crème’ is light and doesn’t feel like it’s weighing down your hair.

I like this range because it feels like it’s been produced by somebody who understands the main two differences in men’s hair. The sizes are big and offer good value. You probably don’t need the hairspray and the creme, but at these prices you could easily get both and each of these products will happily last you for months.”

Launching exclusively with Boots

Published in Grooming
Monday, 27 November 2017 13:41

Tried & Tested Malin + Goetz Cannabis

Review Cannabis Malin Goetz men's fragrance The Chic Geek men's grooming expertTheChicGeek says, “You’ll be pleased to know this doesn’t smell like the top deck of a double decker bus. If somebody sprayed this and you had to close your eyes, you’d never guess this was called ‘Cannabis’. 

Inspired by Andrew Goetz’s time in Amsterdam, the fragrance contains bergamot, black pepper and magnolia with a base of cedarwood, patchouli and sandalwood.

It’s fresh, fragrant and warm. There isn’t any smoke or that pungent odour associated with cannabis and is definitely an easy-wearer. This would make a good, everyday fragrance and I think the 420 fans will be disappointed if they smell this. Maybe they should have called it 'Amsterdam'?"

Left - Malin + Goetz Cannabis EDP 100ml - £125 

See more grooming products containing cannabis here

Published in Grooming
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